Here’s an absurd, imagined scene: yours truly as manager of the Cleveland Indians, addressing reporters after a ballgame in a press availability that is broadcast live to the masses.
The absurdity is not so much that I’d be manager of the Tribe (although it certainly is daft). No, what’s loony to me is that across the spectrum of major-league sports, the post-game interviews of reporters with managers and players are broadcast or streamed live. The managers appear before one of these wallpaper backdrops with the logos of the team and a major sponsor (like the videoconferencing background depicted here that the Indians shared on social media). In numbing detail, they answer “inside baseball” questions that really are inside baseball: why didn’t Speedy Wisniewski run out that grounder in the eighth inning when the team was down 17-3?
While I fully back reporters getting ready access to managers and players, it confounds me that any but the most diehard fanatics of a team would not only want to watch these exchanges, but would have the time to do so.
I don’t object to these kinds of interviews being broadcast after major championships, no-hitters or other rare achievements. I simply fail to see any wide public appeal for looking in after each game, particularly in the 162-game grind of a baseball season (2020 excepted).
Before the proliferation of cable channels, the post-game broadcasts were limited to the championships, and that was plenty for me. Now, with seemingly unlimited air time to fill, the networks and regional conglomerates grab all of these sessions they can handle.
Is it thrilling viewing? For the most part, no.
Does it bring in viewers or ad dollars? My guess is a few of the former, and many of the latter, which explains why these things air.
For those of you who enjoy watching these post-game pressers, I won’t stand between you and the screen. I won’t be watching myself — unless Wisniewski doesn’t run out another squibber to short.